After two weeks off following a tough road loss to Syracuse the Clemson defense showed up ready to unleash on Georgia Tech in a rainy Clemson Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
The seventh-ranked Tigers felt they had something to prove as they put together a dominant performance in their 24-10 win.
Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC) held Georgia Tech to 198 yards rushing and quarterback Taquan Marshall to 23 yards. The Jackets entered the game averaging 372.3 yards rushing per game and Marshall led the ACC in rushing yards with 117.3.
Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel has a history of thriving against Paul Johnson’s triple option. Entering Saturday’s meeting he had 26 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and two sacks in his three games against Georgia Tech and Saturday was no different.
O’Daniel had another outstanding night in the flood-like conditions. He seven total tackles, a pair of tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a sack as the Tigers held Tech to 230 total yards. The triple option seems to bring out the best version of the graduate linebacker and he admitted that he looks forward to playing Tech with exception of the low blocks.
“I definitely do a pretty good job against a triple option but those offensive lineman diving at my knees every play isn’t the best move” said O’Daniel.
In order to defend the triple option offense playing you assignment is a necessity. O’Daniel attributes much of his success against Tech (4-3, 3-2 ACC) to the simplicity of assignment football.
“It’s just simple my job is quarterback to alley or just pitch or whatever my job is on that play I can just do that, I don’t have to worry about anything else I can just trust the next man,” he said.
O’Daniel played his assignments well on Saturday night and has all season making him an All-American candidate in the minds of many.
Clemson seemingly righted the ship with the win over the Yellow Jackets and potentially can be ranked in the top 5 of the first College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night, following losses by second-ranked Penn State and No. 4 TCU on Saturday.
However, O’Daniel and the Tigers will face another big test next weekend against NC State. The Clemson linebacker does not shy away from playing big games but rather is eager anticipating the big stage.
“That game is going to be (huge),” said O’Daniel. “It’s going to be exciting… I’m looking forward to it.”
The Tigers will kick off at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Raleigh.